St. Joseph County, Ind. A St. Joseph County woman, forced to jump from the second story of her home after an overnight fire speaks out about what happened that morning.
The blaze broke out just after 12:30 a.m. Saturday in the 19600 block of Kern Road, just south of South Bend.
“It was absolute panic. I literally hung outside my window and yelled. I banged on the side of my house trying to get anybody in my neighborhoods attention,” says Casey Copenhaver.
Copenhaver tried to get someone’s attention as a fire was taking over her home.
“The only thing I could think was, I am standing in my doorway and I can't get out and my kids are downstairs,” continues Copenhaver.
She couldn't get out because her upstairs hallway was filled with smoke. Not knowing if her family could get out or not, Copenhaver says she stayed on the phone with a 911 operator.
“I was fighting for my life is what it felt like. At some point I was on the phone with 911 and I could feel heat. Everything was just getting hotter,” says Copenhaver.
Copenhaver says smoke filled the room, she couldn't see, she couldn't breathe and she felt like she was burning.
“I literally felt like I was about to pass out and it became either I pass out in this bedroom and have no idea what happens after that moment, or I jump out my window and get fresh air and survive and be able to walk away from this, and that’s when I hung out the window, I dropped my phone out the window and grabbed the ledge of my window and swung down and fell out,” says Copenhaver.
Firefighters say they arrived at the scene to find Copenhaver who had been trapped inside her bedroom dangling from a second-floor window, attempting to escape.
They say before crews could rescue her with their ladder she jumped from the burning home and landed on a concrete slab.
But, Copenhaver says a friend was at the bottom to catch her, saving her from hitting concrete. She says it was a feeling of relief. She could finally breathe and she heard her son and her brother in the front knowing everyone made it out okay.
Copenhaver was taken to the hospital, treated and released. She says she was treated for smoke inhalation. Luckily, she only has cuts and bruises from that morning but says she is doing just fine.
“I lost everything and I am standing here, I’m healthy, my kids are fine, my family is fine and everything else in there can be replaced. I am the luckiest person on the face of this planet today,” says Copenhaver.
According to the victim's sister, she spent most of the day with the Red Cross, trying to salvage what's left of her belongings.